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Grading the Raiders’ loss to the Falcons

Updated November 29, 2020 - 3:00 pm


Bad. So very, very bad. Five turnovers. Four by quarterback Derek Carr, who fumbled three times, threw a brutal pick-6 and finished 22-of-34 for 215 yards before giving way to Nathan Peterman in the fourth quarter. Running back Josh Jacobs (seven carries, 27 yards, fumble) was a non-factor and tight end Darren Waller (four catches for 23 yards) was nearly as invisible. The league’s best offense on third down (51.6 percent) coming in was just 3-of-12 in such situations. The Raiders threw for just 240 yards against a pass defense ranked next-to-last in the NFL and had just one first down via the run. The vaunted makeshift offensive line finally busted, allowing five sacks and five quarterback hits. Brandon Parker especially struggled at right tackle, again bringing to light the continued absence of Trent Brown.


It was a unit not helped early by field position and yet one that then became as undisciplined as the offense was inept. Penalties piled up and the dam eventually broke. Rookie cornerback Damon Arnette was lost early to a concussion. The Raiders managed just one sack against Matt Ryan. The Falcons had 23 first downs, five by penalty. They were 9-of-19 on third down and controlled the clock for 34:57 of possession time. Jeff Heath and Nicholas Morrow each had 10 tackles and Nick Kwiatkoski six tackles (two for loss) and the lone sack. Roughing the quarterback. Hands to the face. The flags just kept coming. A sea of yellow miscues.


Daniel Carlson made both field-goal attempts — from 29 and 24 yards — and AJ Cole averaged 47.8 yards on five punts, but this area also proved unfocused. A roughing the kicker call against Dallin Leavitt — he of a very bizarre Twitter video this week regarding COVID-19 and the Southern Nevada Health District — allowed the Falcons to extend a drive that concluded with a touchdown.


Penalties are the hallmark of an unfocused team and that’s the group Jon Gruden trotted out at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday. The Raiders were flagged 11 times for a ridiculous 141 yards. Some of that is on the players, but having your team prepared is the responsibility of a coaching staff. The Raiders weren’t remotely ready to play. It went from bad to worse to ugly to embarrassing. Before watching a second of film, Gruden and his assistants should find a mirror and give a good, long collective look. “I want to apologize to the Raider Nation,” Gruden said afterward. “Penalties, turnovers, inexcusable. That’s a reflection of me. When we get hit in the mouth, we have to get up off the mat and fight back as a coaching staff and as a football team.”

Ed Graney Review-Journal

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